T H E ( A L M O S T ) W E E K L Y P H O T O G R A P H
22 March 2016
Twelve Apostles From The Air - Better Photography Newsletter
Port Campbell National Park from the air. Canon EOS 5DSR, 17-40mm lens, 1/6400 second @ f4, ISO 1250
It's always a challenge giving advice to photographers about to shoot from a helicopter. On the Canon Collective Tour to Geelong last weekend, two dozen photographers took a spectacular drive along the Great Ocean Road to Port Campbell National Park and the 12 Apostles. We all had 25 minute flights booked over Australia's most spectacular stretch of coastline.
The one thing you know when shooting from a helicopter is to keep your shutter speeds up high, but this depends on the helicopter, the location and the weather. The smaller the helicopter, the more it bounces around and so the faster the shutter speed required. The more unstable the weather, the more the helicopter bounces around and when you're flying over uneven ground, there can be updrafts that bounce you around as well.
I have tack sharp photographs taken from a helicopter with shutter speeds as slow as 1/250 second, but I have many more that are blurred. Even at 1/2000 second you can have blurred shots if the chopper is moving around a lot.
I suggested to the photographers that they needed a shutter speed of at least 1/2000 second to ensure they took sharp photographs, but there were a few compromises. First, as we were shooting in the late afternoon, to get a 1/2000 second shutter speed probably required a reasonably wide aperture - and wide apertures are not always optimum in terms of image quality (the edges can be a little soft, although the middle is normally pretty good).
And even with a wide open aperture, the ISO may need to be pushed up a little to ensure correct exposure with the shutter speed and aperture combination. One approach is to set the shutter speed at, say, 1/2000 second on Tv (shutter priority) mode and turn on auto ISO. Once the camera reaches the widest aperture, it then starts to increase the ISO to ensure correct exposure.
So how come this photo is taken at 1/6400 second? Well, old habits die hard and I usually shoot in aperture priority mode - but I keep an eye on my settings. I set the aperture and the ISO so that when I was pointing the camera at the ground, my shutter speed was around 1/2000 second. However, if there were breaking waves in frame with lots of white water, the camera would push the shutter speed up higher to maintain correct exposure.
The caveat on this advice is that we had a fixed flight path and time. If you have more time, you can slow yourself right down and think your options through. On the other hand, there's something really exciting about spending 25 minutes on a flight and shooting like mad! It's an amazing flight and worth booking at 12 Apostles Helicopters.
Have you thought about taking a photo workshop? If you have been putting it off, maybe this Easter is the perfect time to make some plans to take your photography to the next level. It also helps us plan your travel arrangement if you can book ahead of time.
If you're interested, click through to the website here so I can make some suggestions...
Last month, Peter Eastway judged and presented at the WPPI Convention in Las Vegas, USA. At the show, he offered attendees the opportunity to purchase the Landscape Photography MasterClass with a massive 25% discount. We're told that at shows like this, you have to make a strong offer!
This got Peter thinking - well, why offer it to only the new people he meets at WPPI? Why not to our existing readers and so here's the announcement!
You're all invited to take advantage of the special WPPI offer. There's 25% off the Landscape Photography MasterClass, the Photoshop Layers ebooks, How to Win Photo Competitions ebook, and the Photo Business ebooks and business plan.
All you need to do is use the code 'WPPI2016' when you check out, the offer has been extended until 31 March 2016.
To read all about the Landscape Photography MasterClass, click here.
For more information please visit the Better Photography website.
Peter Eastway APP-L, GM.Photog., FNZIPP, Hon. FAIPP, Hon FNZIPP, FAIPP
Editor and Publisher
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